You want to go to Istanbul and need a great place to stay? Then go to the Sopha Hostel. The place, wich is close to the central Taksim Square, is co-owned by Percin Imrek, former CD member and Agora Chair. “Every AEGEE member that presents his or her membership card gets a 15 percent discount”, Percin told the Golden Times.

Percin Imrek

GT: Percin, you are co-owner of a hostel now?
Percin Imrek: Yes I am. As a globetrotter, I always preferred to stay at hostels, mainly for the ambience and the great spirit. I find hotels too cold and soulless. However, in a hostel, it is very easy to get along, meet inspiring people and take advice from fellow travellers. I saw that there is a lack of proper hostels in Istanbul – and acted.

GT: Doesn’t have Istanbul already many hostels?
Percin: There are many places that call themselves ‘hostels’, but they are more like buildings with rooms. But that is not how a hostel should be like. A hostel needs a common room where people can socialize, helpful and English speaking staff and all the facilities that allows the travelers to have a safe, economic and unforgettable experience.

Happy staff and guests in the hostel

GT: When and how did you become hostel owner?
Percin: I met a guy from New Zealand, who had rented an old hostel in May. After becoming friends, bureaucratic hurdles were taken, I bought a 50 percent share of the hostel and we became partners since November.

GT: What can you tell us about the hostel? How big is it and where is it?
Percin: The hostel is in a four-story building with five rooms: two with eight beds, one with four beds and two two-bed dorms, with a total number of 24 beds. The building has a common room, a terrace and is in the heart of Istanbul.

The location of the hostel in Istanbul

GT: What kind of guests are coming?
Percin: We mainly have guests from Europe, the US and Australia, however it is possible to meet people from all around the world.

GT: You mentioned that the location is very central. Where can you go from there?
Percin: Yes, it is located in Taksim, very close to where the Gezi protests happened. That is considered as the heart of Istanbul. From there you can pretty much go to all sights within a range of 15 to 20 minutes, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace and all.

GT: Can AEGEE members get a discount?
Percin: Of course. I would be mad if an AEGEE member owning a hostel wouldn’t give me a discount. Every AEGEE member that presents his or her membership card gets a 15 percent discount.

Under new management the hostel gets nicer every day

GT: That’s great! What can you tell us about your co-owner?
Percin: My partner is from New Zealand, he is a great guy, and very hardworking. The best thing is that he is also a big traveler and we share the same kind of mentality in many things. It is great to have a foreigner in the team, since the customers feel more comfortable with the owner being from another country. It makes them feel safe and secure, since they feel that the owner is just a traveler like they are.

GT: Did you have experience in the field of hostel management before? I guess you are learning new things every day?
Percin: No I did not. But I have been to a lot of hostels, and I know what things are needed to have a great hostel. I also have a lot of experience in management in general. So these two combined, I think I am doing a pretty good job at the hostel. But yes, as you said, every day is a new experience. I plan to expand into new cities and within İstanbul in the future.

Also the decoration is very creative and gives the hostel a personal touch.

GT: Can you tell us more?
Percin: I just came back from a business trip to Izmir, where I had a meeting with a potential landlord. The next hostel will most probably open in January.

GT: What else should AEGEE members know?
Percin: They just need to know that whenever they are in Istanbul, they have a place where they can stay with comfort, security and have a great experience, for a minimal price.

More info about the hostel:


About Percin Imrek

  • Trainer/Consultant on Organisational Management
  • Graduate of Political and Administrative Studies at the College of Europe
  • Former Chairman of Agora/EBM of AEGEE-Europe
  • Former member of the Comité Directeur
  • Founder and Project Manager of the “Where Does Europe End” flagship project of AEGEE-Europe